ONE Championship confirms Shinya Aoki vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama at ONE X

Shinya Aoki (Left) gets his wish of competing against Yoshihiro Akiyama (Right) at ONE X. [Photo: ONE Championship Japan’s Twitter]
Shinya Aoki (Left) gets his wish of competing against Yoshihiro Akiyama (Right) at ONE X. [Photo: ONE Championship Japan’s Twitter]

Shinya Aoki and Yoshihiro Akiyama are set to collide at ONE X on March 26.

ONE Championship broke the news on Instagram, adding another blockbuster match to the stacked card that’s growing by the day. In the caption, they said:

“Two of the biggest names in Japanese MMA history will collide at ONE X as Shinya Aoki and Yoshihiro "Sexyama" Akiyama settle their score inside the Circle! shinya050983 @akiyamachoo #ONEX

ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong earlier confirmed that Shinya Aoki would be in action for the promotion’s tenth-anniversary show. However, his opponent had not been revealed yet.

The news tickled the imagination of fans because of the exciting possibilities for the grappling legend. With huge names like Eddie Alvarez and Sage Northcutt also rumored to be in the event, there were speculations that ‘Tobikan Judan’ might test his skills against American stars. However, getting Akiyama is by no means a disappointment, as it pits together two of the biggest names in Japanese martial arts.

The 38-year-old Aoki has amassed an incredible 47-9 MMA record, and is a fixture in grappling bouts around the world and the Japanese pro-wrestling scene. Meanwhile, Akiyama has taken his talents around the world, and has crossed over from martial arts to mainstream media, appearing in multiple TV series.

Incredibly, this will be the first time in over 20 years in the martial arts scene that these two will square off in a match.

Shinya Aoki and Yoshihiro Akiyama beef

In October 2021, Shinya Aoki competed in a grappling match that headlined an event celebrating Yoshihiro Akiyama in Japan. After the bout ended in a draw, Aoki took the microphone to call out Akiyama, who was part of the broadcast team.

Aoki revealed that there was an offer for the two of them to meet in September, but alleged that Akiyama declined. ‘Sexyama’ explained that he suffered a muscle tear that meant fighting wasn’t an option for him at the time.

‘Tobikan Judan’ suggested that they meet at ONE X, which was then set for December 2021, giving Akiyama at least two months to recover from his injury. While Akiyama did not outrightly accept, the event was moved to March 2022, which gave the 46-year-old more time to recover.

Earlier in the month, Akiyama tried to dispel rumors of the fight actually happening at ONE X, as it was not yet confirmed. However, now that the cat’s out of the bag, fans will be in for a treat.

ONE Championship Japan’s Twitter page even shared an incredible video package from Abema that chronicled their rivalry.


It is only fitting that these two legends settle their rivalry in a historic event like ONE X on March 26.

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Edited by Bhargav
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